Cascarilla (commonly pronounced kas-kah-ree yah) is a powerful protection ingredient used in La Regla Lucumi, more widely known as Santeria. Originally the substance was made from the powdered bark of the Croton Eleuteria, which is also known as Sweetwood Bark and Bahama Cascarilla. Medically that plant was used as a tonic, an expectorant, to stop excessive farting, and also for “nocturnal pollutions.” For convenience sake the stuff used in ritual now is made from powdered eggshells which have been pressed into small cakes or blocks. These Cascarilla cakes are used before, during, and sometimes even after any ritual working, and could definitely be considered a necessary part of the tradition.
I often talk about cascarilla in my workshop about “Oils, Waters, and Baths of Hoodoo, Voodoo and Santeria.” One person asked me if they could make their own by crushing eggshells at home. I guess you can, but it is inexpensive, and easily available from your local Botanica (spiritual supply store) or from online sources. Another person asked me if there was a vegetarian substitute. The answer to that is no, not really. I respect people’s individual choices, and myself was a vegetarian for several years. Some things however don’t really have substitutes. There are certainly other ways to bring protection and clarity, like Florida Water etc., but there are no direct substitutions. I would also like to caution those travelling with cascarilla, while it is a very useful ingredient, I will say that it caused quite a few problems for my godbrother when he tried to bring the magickal white powder through airport security. As always please be careful and practical about your magick.
Uses for Cascarilla
- Bless yourself or others by drawing an equal armed cross with the cascarilla on the inside of your elbows, backs of your knees, back of your neck, palms of your hands, and bottoms of your feet. This will provide protection for you during ritual or whenever you need it.
- Scrape some into your ritual bath to bring clarity and protection from negativity.
- Add a small amount of cascarilla to the top of a seven day candle to focus and protect your ritual workings.
- Cover a fresh coconut in cascarilla and kick it around your home and out the front door to cleanse negativity. This is an old favorite.
- Draw equal armed crosses with cascarilla on your windows and over your door to protect the space.
I would love to hear your special uses and experiences with cascarilla, please leave them in the comments below. I would also like to remind all my readers that sharing is caring, and if you like what you have read here please push those delightful media buttons below and Share, Share, Share.